Reverse working dies used for consecutive years?

Discussion in 'Error Coins' started by shaney777, Jun 22, 2020.

  1. shaney777

    shaney777 Member

    Does anyone know if working dies are ever used for consecutive years? I know of no same doubled working die that can be found on more than one year. The idea seems incredibly far-fetched and doesn't make sense at all, but there is a quote stating this on the Trail Dies site: "You may ask why this working hub with trails occurred in two consecutive years. John Wexler provided the answer by stating that the reverse working hub, like some reverse working dies, were used in consecutive years."

    My issue is that there doesn't seem to be any same reverse doubled dies that can be found on two different years, or if there is, I haven't came across them. And why would they use a working die one year, and also the next, when working dies don't survive but a day or less? I can't see them using a working die to something like mid die state, stopping, then finishing its use the next year. What am I missing?
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  3. thomas mozzillo

    thomas mozzillo Supporter! Supporter

    Who knows why the US Mint does anything. My theory is that working Dies (both obverse and reverse) are used for a certain amount of time (number of strikes) and when they become worn are supposed to be replaced with a new working die. With millions of coins for each denomination, many dies are used throughout the year. Obviously, the obverse dies have to be changed at the beginning of the year. The reverse die only has to be replaced when it's outlived it's usefulness. The best example I can give to answer your question is that if a reverse die is installed on Dec. 31st and only a few hundred coins are struck before Jan 1st, there'd be no reason to replace a good die so they could still use it to strike coins with a new date on the obverse. If the reverse die was a doubled die, and nobody noticed it, we would have a doubled die coin for two dates. (Old year & New year) Since we have never seen the same doubled die with 2 different years, it stands to reason that all doubled die coins were struck before the end of the year. Peace :)
  4. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Off the top of my head, I know that No Stems reverse die was paired for half cents from 1804 (C-13), 1805 (C-1) and 1806 (C-1). All of those varieties are the most common for those three years so that die was one tough customer.

    The No Stems (stems missing on either side at the bottom of the wreath) was a cutting error. All of the other Draped Bust half cents have them.

    There are many other examples of reverse dies that were used more than one year among the early and 19th century coins. The trick is to be able to spot them as the die making process was refined to make more “cookie cutter” results.

    As for doubled die question, why would the mint use an error die in the modern era once it has been discovered, unless there was a die shortage? During the process of changing the obverse die for a new year, one would think that both dies would be inspected and that a defect one would be removed from service.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
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  5. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Variety Collector

    Yes in deed they do...i have a proof 1942 Jefferson nickel type two that the obv. Die was used to strike type 1. The coin has the die markers showing on the type 1. Coin and remember 42 was a war year....and they struck two proof one in nickel copper and the silver ones.
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  6. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Paddy, that's one rev paired with two obverses, but both for the same year.

    As Johnmilton said there are many examples of it happening in the early and 19th century coinage. In the records there are many references to dies being desroyed at the end of the years with the notation "X number of reverse dies held over". In some cases these would be dies that were not used, and in some cases dies that were used but still serviceable.

    Reuse of proof die reverse was very common. All or almost all of the 1840 - 49 proof half cents were struck using the same reverse die. In the seated series I don't remember if it was in the quarters or the halves but one proof rev die keeps reappearing over a 10 year period.

    I'm sure it has also happened in the 20th century, but I can't cite examples. OK, here is at least one case nickels, rev proof die # 39 used in 1939 was also used for proofs in 1940. It struck 3,800 1939 proofs and 900 1940 proofs
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  7. shaney777

    shaney777 Member

    Thank you! Something about your response that stood out to me is that you mentioned die #39 as being the one used in 1940. That is the serial number of the die? How was it determined to be the die when the Mint defaces them? Is there a source for the die number? I am intrigued.
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  8. shaney777

    shaney777 Member

    Thank you all!
  9. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    You have to go through the mint records in the national archives. Both the obv and the rev dies have a serial number and records as to how many coins are struck from each. Dated obv dies and worn out rev dies are destroyed each year, but an unused rev or a used rev that still had plenty of life left in it would probably be held over and used the next year. I know that was true in the 19th century and probably true even in the 21st. Case in point are 2007 W burnished ASE dies that were held over and used in 2008 even though the design was modified in 2008. If the design hadn't been modified we probably would have never know about the held over dies.

    But in the case of the #39 rev being used in 39 and held over to 40 there is a notation to that effect in the mint records. That research isn't mine. It comes from Roger Burdette and his book Proof Coins 1936 - 1942.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
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  10. shaney777

    shaney777 Member

    Just now noticed your response. Awesome! Thank you. Are Mint records on working dies still being kept to this day? Are they accessible? I know the Mint kept records on at least some of the State quarter working dies because of those used die sets that were sold. They tell the exact number of coins struck, reason for retiring the die, serial number, etc. I would love to have this information now to maybe know how many doubled dies were made of any particular listing. Not sure if that's even possible with them being defaced...

    Edit: If anything, it would be cool to see just how low number of coins struck by a die can get (or how fast the die became unusable). Because this leaves potential for incredibly rare, major doubled dies. I know the main 2018 Shield cent DDO is extremely hard for people to find.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  11. CaptHenway

    CaptHenway Survivor

    Doubled dies are legitimately scarce. The chances of one of them being in a press at the end of the year and being carried over to the next year are very slight. Law ov averages.

    There is a way that an obverse die can be carried over from one year to the next. Would anybody care to explain how?

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  12. Danomite

    Danomite What do you say uh-huh Supporter

    It depends on which series/ dates you would like to address?
  13. thomas mozzillo

    thomas mozzillo Supporter! Supporter

    An overdate coin is one way.
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  14. Evan8

    Evan8 A Little Off Center

    1909 Lincoln Cent obverse dies were used to strike the VDB and non VDB cents as well as the matte proofs, granted that was all done in 1909.

    Now some 1909 VDB reverse dies had the VDB polished off and went on to strike non VDB coins as well.

    Supposedly, some of those reverse dies were used to strike 1910 wheat cents as well, hence the rumors that 1910 VDB cents exist, with only partially removed VDB initials. I have read some people claiming the 1910 VDB but I myself have never seen one.
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  15. Danomite

    Danomite What do you say uh-huh Supporter

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  16. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    There are only two. The 1806/5 quarter and half dollars are the only overdates in the US series where the die was used both before and after it was overdated. All other overdates were done to dies that had not been previously used or were doubled dies from after the dates were included in the hubs.
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  17. CaptHenway

    CaptHenway Survivor

    The undated Sacagawea dollar obverse.
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  18. shaney777

    shaney777 Member

    Thank you!
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